Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

“Panic and a head full of snot are not a match made in heaven.”  That was the first line; that was the challenge.  Years ago, to write a story using that first line, which was just wacky enough that I did write that story, the tale of a laundry policeman with allergies vs. a giant soiled clothes monster titled “Got Them Wash Day Blues.”  Not surprisingly, it was taking some time to find a market.

But then came the call, from Juliana Rew of Third Flatiron Publishing, buyers not that long ago of my “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” for their Kurt Vonnegut CAT’S BREAKFAST tribute anthology (cf. newland-godzilla-bambiJuly 11, June 15, et al.) among others and known sometimes for an eccentric sense of humor, a new anthology set for spring to be called MONSTROSITIES.  Things that are just too big or that don’t scale.  Whether it’s the new shopping mall down the street, kaiju attacking Tokyo, flawed utopian ideas, the supposed ultimate weapon, or somebody who’s way too big for his britches, we all have had to deal with humongous blunders.  Get it off your chest–share with us your favorite monstrosities.  Hmmmm. . . .

And so yesterday afternoon came the email.  We definitely want “Got Them Washday Blues.”  Let us know if still available and we’ll get back with a contract in January.

More to be revealed here as it becomes known.

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Two quick Saturday items, the first of which is the receipt of a large paperback copy of THE SOCIETY OF MISFIT STORIES PRESENTS. . . , VOLUME ONE.  This is the hard copy version of Bards and Sages Publishing’s first year’s collection of longer stories, that is ones hard to place in most electronic magazines, etc., because of their length.  And mine, “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” a magical courtroom drama originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, appears first in the book, a result of it winning a readers poll in its electronic version (cf. October 16, January 19, et al.).  For more, one may press here.

Then today also marked the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Year End Party and Annual General Business Meeting Plus Open Mic, for which I presented orange slices for the pitch-in refreshments, and eight very recent, very short, epigrammatic poems for the readings.  One of which, “Wet Work,” was my most recently published poem in the current STAR*LINE (see December 2, et al.), while the others, thus far unpublished, were “From the Zombie Hunters Field Guide:  Tracking the Zombie,” “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating:  Taking Your Date Home,” “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “What She Learned,” “Oh No She Didn’t?,” “City of Angels,” and “Land of Milk and Honey.”

The first thing she decided was that the 15-foot long, garbage-eating steampunk river cleaner would have a cheesily well-developed sense of humor.

“As soon as I started making snake puns, you had 20 other followers that were making hilarious other snake jokes,” she explains.  “So it became really great that way.”

Stegman continues to infuse Mr. Trash Wheel with her own “nerdom and geekdom,” which has endeared him to fans around the city.  He loves “Star Wars.”  He makes “Lord of the Rings” fan art.  He writes “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels and has spent hours answering questions on Reddit.  Occasionally, he participates in local events.

The “she” is Robyn Stegman, the official voice of Baltimore’s “Mr Trash Wheel,” a fifteen-foot long solar-powered device built to help clean trash out of Baltimore’s Jones Falls River.  And snake puns refer to an incident involving an escaped ball python found, having climbed up its conveyor belt, wrapped around a control box on Mr. Trash Wheel.  Baltimoreans loved it (well, most of them anyway).

It is what it is.  The article’s full title, by Eric March, is “2 Googly Eyes and a Dream:  How Mr. Trash Wheel Went Viral and Conquered Baltimore” and can be found on UPWORTHY.COM.  But what a neat idea!  And a happy story for environmental protection mavens as November ebbs and we enter the season of coming Christmas.

To read it for yourself press here.

Lish McBride on TOR.COM, began it this way:  At first I thought, I’m not going to do a Halloween post.  After all, what can be more terrifying than this year?

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  2017 jumped the shark a long time ago in regards to how mind-numbingly horrifying it has been.  I can’t think of a worse time.  (Except maybe high school.)

But then she recalled that horror sometimes helps in forgetting, if for a moment, one’s own aversions — and humor, most definitely, can as well.  Thus another list was born, to be reported here — “Necessary Whimsy:  Vampire Bunnies and Other Weird-But-Fun Halloween Reads,” with one caveat, perhaps, that some (most?) are geared to young adult readers or even children.  But does not Halloween bring out the inner child in us too?

Let all be revealed by pressing here.

Who knows what Friday the Thirteenth will bring, but yesterday, Thursday the twelfth, was rather nice despite a gloomy, Octobery day.  The highlight, a first poetry acceptance for me by STAR*LINE new editor Vince Gotera, for a “horrorku” titled “Wet Work.”  Horrorku?  Well, it’s sort of supposed to be horror plus haiku though it’s really more just a three line poem with a vaguely 5-7-5 syllable count (mine is 5-7-4) on a horror subject, which in my case would more likely be epigrammatic, although not always.  But to the point, even if lacking walruses (cf. October 1) “Wet Work” does have a mermaid.

Then Thursday night brought the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. June 8, et al.) with, this time, a special reading performance of PREMIUM TAFT, a two-act play by Tom Trent, with musical interludes by Jason Fickel.  PREMIUM TAFT is, to read from the Facebook description, “[a] fictional time-traveling comedy about William Howard Taft’s whistle-stop presidential campaign appearance at the Mitchell Opera House in 1908 . . .  or maybe 1958?”  Or science fiction meets farce, in this case with an Indiana small-town ambience with grifters, politicos, greed, and rock ‘n’ roll.  And lots of fun.

This was followed by “open mic” presentations of which mine came in fourth of six, to an audience of about 15 people.  Noting that it had been a gloomy, Octobery day, ideal as a precursor for Halloween, I read four poems from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), “Night Child,” “La Méduse,” “Moonlight Swimming,” and “Chagrin du Vampire.”

So, okay, this is another teeny horror/dark humor poem I read at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Poetry” last week (cf. September 24), but this being the afternoon of October’s “First Sunday Prose” (more on which later this p.m. or Monday morning), why not?  Actually it came up while perusing “Bloodizabeth’s Meat & Greet Dinner Party” on SLASHERMONSTER.COM and seeing one comment mentioning The Beatlles and “I Am the Walrus.”  So having this variant, as it were, in the quiver, why not shoot it into the “Comments” section as a comment upon the comment?  (And thus here, as an “extra,” for you.)

I AM A WALRUS

i have a walrus mustache,
& am hot for mermaids

Yes, I know, this is actually being posted in the wee hours of Tardy Tuesday.  That’s how it goes sometimes — and it was initially posted by Lindsey Goddard on DIRTY LITTLE HORROR several days before, under the deceptively modest title of “Horror Humor.”  But I think it’s worth looking at any time one is in need of a dark laugh, photos, mostly, but artfully captioned, a sample of which appears to right.  For the rest press here.

There are 22 in all, with my favorites numbers 5, 7 through 10, 12, 13, 16, 22, and of course the one pictured, number 1.  Which ones are yours?

Thus was the call:  Welcome to Digital Science Fiction.  We are excited to announce our first open call for reprint short stories in the science fiction genre.  These stories will be published as stand-alone short stories and as part of an anthology of ten short stories under the Digital Science Fiction imprint, by the publisher, Digital Fiction Publishing Corp.  The announcement went on to specify that stories needed to be from 3500 to 7500 words long, “have appeared in professional or semi-professional books, magazines, collections, or anthologies,” and not be available for free on the internet.  And for which one would be paid, well, a bit, but reprints are reprints and money is money.  And so, why not?

As it happened, in fact, I had a 7000ish-word story published in the “Space Opera” section of NIGHT LIGHTS by Geminid Press in 2016 (see April 1 2016, et al.), a bit tongue-in-cheekish, having fun with the genre, you know, and ready to trot.  And so why not indeed?  Off it went just nine days ago and today the word came back from Michael Wills of Digital Fiction:  Thank you for sending us ‘The Needle-Heat Gun’.  We think it is a great fit and would like to publish it.  We will be in touch shortly with a formal contract and details for your review.

No, the Goth cat Triana’s kibble was on time and eaten; rather the headline refers to Third Flatiron Publishing’s Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology CAT’S BREAKFAST (see May 17, April 27), also served up on Kindle this morning. That’s Kindle, not kibble, for which via Amazon one may press here, with a paperback edition expected from Createspace in the near future.  To quote from the blurb:  While satire and humor have long been standard tools of the trade for fiction writers, the authors have channeled the uniquely Vonnegutian attitude into all-original stories that probe and instruct us on themes such as free will, mental illness, social cruelty, loneliness, and family.  The book [also] contains a flash humor section.  (This from the publisher’s own site, with this next from Amazon)  The new “Cat’s Breakfast” anthology from Third Flatiron pays tribute to the imagination and inspiration of the late author Kurt Vonnegut. Emulating Vonnegut’s famous “gallows humor” and skeptical view, these all-original satirical stories are a delightful antidote for the malaise and division plaguing contemporary society.

What more can one ask for?  My puss in the purée is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s 2013 tribute anthology (cf. April 24 2013, et al.), a modern morality tale of sorts of a thoroughly up-to-date young lady, a science fair, and . . . bears.

Then in other news, a third review of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is now up on the Amazon site.  This is the one from THE GEHENNA POST (cf. June 3), an extremely good description in my opinion, and can be seen in situ by pressing here (where one may note also that Amazon is still offering a substantial discount, but not quite as big as it had once been, so perhaps one might buy now lest the price go up further 😉 ).

A warm June day and, for something completely different, how about a post that doesn’t have anything to do with TOMBS (which is still on discount on Amazon last time I looked, incidentally, just click on its picture in the center column)?  Or, serendipity strikes once again!  See, it seems I was just moseying like through the Internets and what should I teacup_chappen across but a still-live link to a humorous saga concerning the herding of cats (ah, now, Triana), originally published in NUKETOWN in March 2001, but here reproduced as an electronic reprint from SPACE WESTERNS (SPACEWESTERNS.COM, from which also the illustration to the left), May 2007.*  So now as a lagniappe, a little free thing you get once in awhile for no particular reason at all except that it’s there, a kind of a story I don’t write too often, a tall tale:  “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City.”

To read, press here.
.

*As a curious footnote, this is also the only story I’ve had reprinted in the Netherlands, in the magazine WONDERWAAN for June 2011.  Translated in Dutch, for those who wish to know, the story appeared as “Kattendrijver Sweet en de Draaiende Theeschotels van Deadwood City.”




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